Vianney Halter is a member of the AHCI and is part of a generation that has broken away from traditional design and presents a fresh approach to horology.
1. Please describe your childhood briefly.
My father was a chauffeur and train driver; he knew steam engines! My mother was a housewife, very dynamic and creative in multiple manual activities. I lived my first years in Argenteuil, a village near Paris. My parents then moved to the Parisian suburb, to Limay, about sixty kilometres from Paris, I was 8 years old. I spent the next years to discovering the surrounding countryside, which was in full change, strewed with factories and with quarries which were overriding the agricultural world of the second half of the XX century. In this universe in phase of change, I spent most of my time alone in this environment of technical and technological recycling.
2. As a child did you have any ambition?
My goal was to make machines, and at this age that meant taking them apart them apart!
3. What is your first significant memory as a child?
A transparent plastic tractor in which we could see the movements of the colourful engine when it was running.
4. Have you ever had another profession?
No, I have always been a watchmaker.
5. What made you decide to go in the direction you are currently in?
This profession was always an obvious choice for me for as long as I can remember. I was always attracted by mechanics, my father brought back technical and/or mechanical objects to the house; my fascination for mechanics probably comes from there. At 14 years old, I took the train for Paris (alone) to meet the director of the watchmaking school and explain to him my motivation: a dispensation was necessary to be accepted to the school, as admission was reserved for 15 year olds and over.
In Paris I first worked for a clockmaker restorer of antique clocks, then another restaurateur, antique watches this time. Rapidly I settled down as an independent in Paris, at 20 years old. After my arrival in Switzerland, at the end of the 80's, I worked at THA, with FP Journe and Denis Flageollet, among others, then I worked with François Junod on automata projects. From 1994, I settle down again as an independent, in Switzerland this time. I then worked on pieces for Franck Muller, Jaquet-Droz, Audemars Piguet, Mauboussin, ... In 1998 I presented my first watch bearing my name at the Basel Fair (before it was renamed Baselworld). This creation was in parallel to collaborations with companies such as Goldpfeil, Harry Winston, Breguet, Zenith ...
This professional path comes from my desire to be free and independent.
6. What is the worst job you had to do?
I have never had a bad experience, so I do not remember an unbearable job.
7. What was the most difficult moment in your career?
It was during my watchmaking school years because I had to spend 5 hours a day on public transport. I overcame that through reading. This experience led to the inevitable decision to never live more than 30 minutes from my work.
8. Who has had the most influence on you?
I have not been influenced by anyone in particular, but rather by history and humanity, its ability to dream and realize these.
Therefore, my inspirations come from human technical achievements, and from science fiction which is a vision of what one could imagine for the future of this humanity.
9. What are you most proud of?
To have preserved until now my convictions, my dreams and my independence.
10. What advice would you give to a 20 something thinking about taking a path similar to yours?
"Choose a vehicle that is well-equipped with airbags! "...
I would have the duty to warn them about the amount of energy they will have to deploy and maybe not succeed. But I can only support the will and the individual initiative, by which one attains true originality.
11. Name three things on your bucket list?
Spend more time with my loved ones.
If it’s accomplished, I would like to travel into space.
12. Where do you think the industry will be in 10 years?
I do not have a particular vision on the industry, because it evolves in a world that is not mine.
To learn more about Vianney Halter www.vianney-halter.com